Now-a-days, backbiting is so common and widespread among people that it usually the most discussed issue of meetings and one way of expressing their anger and jealousy among their fellow brothers or sisters. People who are involved in backbiting hide their imperfections to harm others. It’s shocking how often people do this without thinking twice about how ungodly it actually is.
What is Backbiting?
- To attack the character or reputation of a person who is not present.
- To speak unfavorably or slanderously of a person who is not present.
This is one of the most wicked and ungodly evils to be found in this evil world. Yet, despite this, most people have a shamefully poor understanding of how evil backbiting actually is.
Ways of backbiting
- By tongue
- Eyes, hands and other movements
- By writing
Why backbiting is bad?
Words are powerful. They can build up or break down, encourage or destroy. Unfortunately, We like to know and share rumors and secrets. The more scandalous they are, the more fun they can be to share. We often forget to stop to consider if it is true or not. We become storytellers of the worst kind.. We are drawn to conflict. We want to watch fights.
The results of backbiting are horrendous: Division, strife, suspicion. Satan is all about division. He loves any opportunity he gets to break down brotherhood and unity. It is incredible what gossip and backbiting can tear down. “A whisperer separates the best of friends.”
Backbiting: In the eye of Islam
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do you know what gheebah (backbiting) is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “Saying something about your brother that he dislikes.” It was said, “What if what I say about my brother is true?” He said, “If what you say is true then you have backbitten about him, and if it is not true, then you have slandered him.” [Muslim]
There are different kinds of backbiting in islam.
- Gheebah (backbiting)
- Buhtan (slander)
- Nameemah (malicious gossip).
Gheebah or backbiting means speaking about a Muslim in his absence and saying things that he would not like to have spread around or mentioned. Buhtan or slander means saying things about a Muslim that are not true, or in other words telling lies about him. Nameemah or malicious gossip means telling one person what another said in order to cause trouble between them.
The bad effects of backbiting:
There is a great deal of evidence to show that these actions are haram (impermissible). It will suffice for us to mention just a few of them in order to demonstrate that they are haram.
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful” [49:12]
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed by two graves and said, “They are being punished, but they are not being punished for anything that was difficult to avoid. One of them used to walk about spreading malicious gossip (nameemah), and the other used not to take precautions to avoid getting urine on himself when he urinated.” Then he called for a green branch, which he split in two and planted a piece on each grave, and said, “May their torment be reduced so long as these do not dry out.” [al-Bukhaari, Muslim]
What should we do?
We need to pray to God for help so we can grow in love and show goodness and kindness towards the others. If we think someone is doing something wrong, we can pray for that person and God will show us how we can help. Perhaps we can go to the person in a spirit of love and ask them for clarification, rather than muddy the waters with backbiting. We need to focus on the positive and be active in praying for the others. By sharing this love, we can help to bring peace and rest.
From this we can easily realize that how it could be alarming for us. So if we make mistakes as a human being we have to know how can we get rid of it.
- Ask God for forgiveness
- Say sorry to that person
Everyone who does any kind of backbiting, slander or malicious gossip has to repent and pray for forgiveness, and that is between him and Allaah. If he knows that any of his words reached the person about whom he was speaking, then he should go to him and ask him to forgive him. But if he does not know, then he should not tell him; rather he should pray for forgiveness for him and make du’a(supplication) for him, and speak well of him in his absence just as he spoke against him. Similarly, if he knows that telling him will provoke more enmity, then it is sufficient to make du’a for him, speak well of him and pray for forgiveness for him.
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever has wronged his brother with regard to his honour or anything else, let him seek his forgiveness today, before there will be no dinar and no dirham, and if he has any good deeds to his credit they will be taken from him in a manner commensurate with the wrong he did, and if he has no good deeds, then some of his counterpart’s bad deeds will be taken and added to his burden.” [al-Bukhaari].
How can we ignore it?
- ‘Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.’
- It’s not your job to stop them from talking behind you but it’s your job not to let it affect
- Think in this ways…’Talking behind my back? My life is obviously more interesting than yours.’
- “When people backbite about you, just sit there like a boss and remember you are getting there free good deeds while they get your costly sins.”
- And finally “if you cannot forbid backbiting, you must leave the gathering. If you stay you gather sinning.”
A decided stance against backbiting
What should we do if the others around us begin to backbite? Maybe we have been invited into a conversation where people are speaking badly about someone else. “Hey, did you hear about what he did?”
If we allow this to continue, we are just as guilty as the ones who brought it up. We cannot take part in gossip and backbiting in order to be “friendly,” or to “go along with the crowd’’. Do we have a willingness to fight against this? Do we want to be finished with backbiting? We cannot allow these thoughts and actions to live when we know that they need to die.
From all the point of view, Backbiting destroys the values of society and it spiritually weakens the love and ties among the relatives and the social relations between friends and neighbors. So we should keep ourselves hundred miles away from this evil habit. Thus we can save our soul and social relationship.
Writer: Teacher, Patuakhali Residential School & College